Enterovirulent Escherichia coli infections cause significant losses in the pig industry. However, information about the structures of the virulence and multidrug resistance (MDR) plasmids harboured by these strains is sparse. In this study, we used whole-genome sequencing with PacBio and Illumina platforms to analyse the molecular features of the multidrug-resistant enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) strain 14OD0056 and the multidrug-resistant hybrid Shiga toxin-producing/enterotoxigenic E. coli (STEC/ETEC) strain 15OD0495 isolated from diarrheic pigs in Switzerland. Strain 14OD0056 possessed three virulence plasmids similar to others previously found in ETEC strains, while 15OD0495 harboured a 119-kb multivirulence IncFII/IncX1 hybrid STEC/ETEC plasmid (p15ODTXV) that co-carried virulence genes of both ETEC and STEC pathotypes, confirming the key role of plasmids in the emergence of hybrid pathotypes. All resistance genes of 14OD0056 that conferred resistance to ampicillin (blaTEM-1b), gentamicin (aac(3)-IIa), kanamycin (aph(3')-Ia), sulfonamide (sul1 and sul2), streptomycin (aph(3?)-Ib, aph(6)-Id), tetracycline (tet(B)) and trimethoprim (dfrA1) were identified on a single 207-kb conjugative MDR plasmid of incompatibility group (Inc) IncHI1/IncFIA (p14ODMR). Strain 15OD0495 carried two antimicrobial resistance plasmids (p15ODAR and p15ODMR). The 99-kb IncI1 plasmid p15ODAR harboured only aminoglycoside resistance genes (aac(3)-IIa, aph(3?)-Ib, aph(6)-Id, aph(4)-Ia), whilst the 49-kb IncN MDR plasmid p15ODMR carried genes conferring resistance to ampicillin (blaTEM-1b), sulfonamide (sul2), streptomycin (aph(6)-Id), tetracycline (tet(A)) and trimethoprim (dfrA14). Filter mating assays showed that p14ODMR, p15ODMR and p15ODAR were conjugative at room temperature and 37°C. The co-localization of multiple resistance genes on MDR conjugative plasmids such as p14ODMR and p15ODMR poses the risk of simultaneous selection of several resistance traits during empirical treatment. Thus, preventive strategies and targeted therapy following antibiotic susceptibility testing should be encouraged to avoid further dissemination of such plasmids. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Journal: Veterinary journal